MLS is coming to San Diego! Expansion club confirmed as Egyptian billionaire Mohamed Mansour agrees to record $500 million fee
- Club set to begin play in 2025
- Follows St. Louis SC into league
- MLS reaches 30-team milestone
WHAT HAPPENED? San Diego will get MLS' 30th club after a purchase led by Mohamed Mansour was fully agreed. The California city was one of two locations in the front of the line to gain entry to the soccer league, with Las Vegas also in contention. MLS announced the decision on Thursday.
Snapdragon Stadium will host the yet-to-be-named team, which will begin play in 2025. The venue was built last year and is also home to the NWSL's San Diego Wave and San Diego State college football, among other teams.
WHAT THEY SAID: "San Diego’s MLS club will be owned by Mohamed Mansour, owner of Right to Dream (RTD), the global soccer community of world-class academies, clubs and partners, and by the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation," wrote MLS in a statement. "The Sycuan tribe becomes the first Native American tribe to have an ownership stake in professional soccer in the United States.
"Also joining the investor group is six-time Major League Baseball All-Star and current member of the San Diego Padres, Manny Machado. Other founding partners include Tom Vernon, Founder, Right to Dream, Dan Dickinson, Board Member, Right to Dream and Brad Termini, Co-founder, Zephyr Partners. Highly respected sports executive Tom Penn will serve as the club’s CEO."
AND WHAT'S MORE: "This venue is truly built for great soccer, and getting MLS is the last real piece of the puzzle. We’re excited to get to the finish line,” said San Diego State athletic director John David Wicker to the San Diego Union-Tribune regarding the prospective home of the expansion club.
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Mansour partnered with Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, along with celebrity investor Manny Machado and other businesspeople, to get the deal across the line. The expansion club is a completely different entity from the USL's San Diego Loyal.
The $500 million expansion fee is significantly more than the previous record of $325 million paid by Charlotte FC.
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WHAT NEXT? It will be at least two years until the organization actually takes the field. Meanwhile, Las Vegas could still be in line to get an expansion team of its own in the future, with Phoenix also believed to be in contention.
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